Seasonal Change

Me making fruit bars, Lucille Ball style.

Apologies for sporadic posts, I have been busy with a couple of new projects. A book on my favourite condiment of all time - Ketchup; an E-book guide to etiquette and manners, and the other is a gluten-free snack bar I hope to launch before the end of the year. I do love a challenge and if all or none of them work out, I'm really enjoying the process.

The book on manners has been brewing for quite a few years now, the catalyst being a recent disastrous business meeting. Six ( youngish ) grown-ups conducting  a tech start-up marketing meeting with no idea how to make each other comfortable, awkward handshakes, mumbled introductions, it made this old fart cringe watching. A basic idea of etiquette, even in tech-type "new" industries,would have made such a difference to the atmosphere and the outcome of the meeting. 
Having worked in the hospitality industry for a long time, good, no GREAT manners are the key to any successful service based business. Great food is often spoiled by staff being
inattentive and lacking in knowledge. A lot of guests don't know how to be served.
Both of those things come under the umbrella of bad manners, 99% of the time, the restaurant owner's bad manners for failing to hire and train the right staff. And although "the customer is always right" Sometime they're not. Anyway I will save my puffed-up-ness for the book.

I could really re-name this blog All Things Tomato UK, if anyone had a view of my kitchen at the moment. I bought 2 cases of  tomatoes from the market ( the smell is amazing! ) and am busily experimenting with different recipes, in the valiant hope that I can pass the best on on to you gentle reader.

Something that makes me laugh, is the snootiness regarding one of the worlds most popular condiments , check out number 4 too!, a lot of chefs will not allow it anywhere near their food but use it liberally out of sight, after hours.
I'm trying this one from The Guardian first.

Tomato Ketchup
(makes about 2½ litres)

3.3 kg ripe 'seconds' tomatoes – roughly chopped 
1 onion roughly diced
1 head of garlic – peeled and roughly chopped with any of the green shoot removed
110 grams salt
900 grams sugar
600 ml red wine vinegar 
½tsp cayenne pepper or chilli flakes
1 generous tsp whole cloves
½ a nutmeg – grated (added at the end)
Put all the ingredients, apart from the nutmeg, into a large pan and simmer for about three hours.
Take care to stir often so it doesn't catch and burn on the bottom.
Leave to cool slightly before putting the sauce through a food mouli  (or use a food processor and then sieve) and then add the nutmeg.
The ketchup is best stored in small stoppered bottles or small kilner jars that have been sterilised. Sealed correctly, these will keep fine in a cool dark cupboard as you would store jams and chutneys.
Once opened, the individual bottles should be stored in the fridge. It will keep well for up to a month.

I'll let you know how it turns out but do let me know if you decide to give it a go yourself.

The leaves are falling, it's getting frosty in the mornings and we've had the log fire burning. A perfect time to wrap up and sample the delights of Chocolate Week here in the UK.
If you are in London, there are two days of all things chocolate at the Salon Du Chocolate at Olympia West.
Have a great week.

Love food X


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